Productivity is a constant struggle in the winter when people naturally find it harder to stay focused and work to their full potential. There are many factors that can influence our state of mind and ability to concentrate during the colder months. Managers simply need to be aware of the main things that can impact productivity and disrupt work so that they can put strategies in place to tackle them. You don’t have to make drastic changes or completely change the way your work, you just need to be a little more flexible and plan ahead. Here are some ways to improve staff morale and keep them productive through the winter.
Room temperature can have a huge impact on staff productivity. Studies have shown that if the temperature is far too hot or too cold productivity drops significantly. Make sure your office is sufficiently heated throughout the winter, don’t leave staff shivering in their office because they won’t get much work done. Staff will often argue about the room temperature because everyone is comfortable at different temperatures, so try and get everyone to agrees on a fair temperature. It’s also worth heating your meeting rooms before you hold a meeting because staff won’t be very productive in a freezing meeting room.
Ensure that your office is well lit, poor lighting can also take its toll on productivity. Dark offices are not great places to work, dull and poorly lit offices can also have an impact on people’s moods. Try and invest in some high quality light bulbs and check that all areas of the office can be well lit when in use. The days are shorter in the winter and it gets dark much earlier in the day, staff will really notice the difference and some strategic lighting can definitely help.
Encourage Physical Exercise
Exercise can also help to improve productivity. Healthy, fit staff will be much more productive and are less likely to take days off sick. Try and encourage staff to go outside and get some fresh air or walk to work. Try and be flexible with staff who are involved in sport so that they can continue to keep fit throughout the winter. Regular exercise can also help to improve sleep and reduce stress.
Try and let some natural light into the office when you can and give staff plenty of breaks so that they can go outside when the sun is out. Some people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) syndrome in the winter, and having access to natural light can really help.
Bad Weather Plans
When winter comes every business has to deal with bad weather. When it snows and people can’t get into work businesses can face huge disruption. Don’t let the bad weather defeat you, make sure you have a plan in place so that staff know what is expected of them on a snow day. Give them instructions about how to work remotely from home.
Flexible Working Hours
If you can, give staff the opportunity to benefit from flexible working hours. This is especially useful in winter, because people can come in to work when they feel most productive.
Goal Setting & Rewards
People can lose sight of their goals and feel a little disheartened as the weather gets colder. Give them something to come in to work for by setting new goals and remembering to give rewards throughout the winter.
Eddie Ordell blogs about recruitment, HR and employee issues from task management to to employee annual leave